Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) that screw in to regular bulb sockets consume less than a quarter of the energy of incandescent (tungsten) bulbs that produce the same amount of light. They cost a lot more than tungsten bulbs, but since they also last at least four times longer they easily pay for themselves.
I tried screw-in CFLs a few years ago and found that they had a number of drawbacks:
- Bad color quality
- Faint flickering
- Minutes to warm up to a steady state
- Not dimmable
Home Depot sent me a sample of the next-generation dimmable CFLs, and I decided to give them another try. I’m glad I did because these new bulbs not only solve all of the problems I noted with earlier CFLs, but they even make my favorite tungsten bulbs (GE Reveal) look bad! (Note: My friends find it odd that I have a favorite light bulb until they hear that my husband and I regularly go to Home Depot on many date nights. What can I say? We just love home improvement and do-it-yourself projects.)
New CFLs don’t have a noticeable warm-up period and sport color quality that exceeds the best incandescent bulbs (confirmed by Popular Mechanics). Many dimmers cause tungsten bulbs to hum as they dim. I didn’t notice any noise from dimmable CFLs, although as I dimmed them below 50% brightness they did begin to flicker faintly.
The neat thing about the CFLs is that their color temperature doesn’t change as they dim. In contrast the light from tungsten bulbs steadily decreases in temperature as they dim (i.e., the light becomes more yellow-red).
I was pleased with the quality of the light and with the energy savings. When my current tungsten light bulbs burn out, I will be replacing them with these new, improved dimmable CFLs.
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